60+ Branches of Faith: How to Prioritize

Spiritual Deeds 

Sheikh Hassan Al-Banna (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

“The actions of the heart takes precedence over the actions of the limbs, though achieving excellence in both is required.” (Risalat At-Ta`aleemThe Message of Teachings)

He states that both the actions of the hearts and the actions of the limbs are important; one should try to achieve excellence in both. However, the actions that one does by the heart has more priority and should take more focus.

Faith originates in the heart; believing in Allah starts in the heart; creed is the foundation of anything a Muslim does.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said his very famous saying,

“Indeed there is a piece of flesh in the body; when sound, the whole body is sound and when bad the whole body is bad. Indeed it is the heart” (Al-Bukhari).

The heart is nothing but the set of actions, feelings, emotions, beliefs, intentions, and spirituality one has. The heart is what Allah Almighty considers as the Prophet said,

“Allah does not look at your appearances or your financial status, but He looks at your hearts and your actions.”  (Al-Bukhari)

Two things Allah considers about us: our heart and our deeds which in turn are only considered based on intention: “Verily deeds are by intention…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) and intention lies within the heart.

Importance of the deeds of heart

Throughout the Qur’an and the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) the deeds of the heart has great values.

  • Allah says, {those who believe are stauncher in their love for Allah} (Al-Baqarah 2:165)
  • The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Remorse is repentance.” (Ibn Majah and authenticated by Al-Albani)
  • Allah says, {Those who believe and on their lord they rely.} (Ash-Shura 42:36)
  • The Prophet said,“Whoever possesses the (following) three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith
    • to love Allah and His Messenger more than anything else, 
    • loving  people only for the sake of Allah, and 
    • to hate to revert to disbelief as much as hating to be thrown into fire” (Muslim) and many other examples.

On the other hand, the sins of the heart are more severe. The Prophet said,

He whose heart has the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance will not enter paradise.” (Ibn Majah and authenticated by Al-Albani)

The Shaitan’s fault that drove him out of Allah’s mercy and admitted him to the Fire was arrogance. The worst action ever is rejecting Allah and disbelieving in Him, something that people do by their hearts.

Therefore, our focus should be more on the heart than on the body. What resides in the heart is more important, takes more priority, and requires more focus. It is what is going to affect the rest of the body. It is needless to say that we are not, by any mean, belittling the importance and the requirement of the actions of the body. Rather, we are just setting the priority and hence giving the reader the first tool to set priorities.